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Youth Development Opportunities: Community, Land and Lateral Thinking

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Youth Development Opportunities: Community, Land and Lateral Thinking

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The Way Forward

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.” ~ John Donne (1624)

The great lesson of life is that while we may appear to be sailing our own ship, we very rarely are. There is always a broader community at work, supporting our dreams, and bolstering our endeavours. The trick is to draw from our background of family and friends, while at the same time applying our own true grit, determination and hard work.

The youth are more fortunate than they may think. Today they are able to benefit from a supportive community background and institutions focused on developing young individuals. These innovative organisations are geared to encourage the youth to take ownership of their ideas and transform tentative projects into successful business ventures.

The youth may be seen as the leaders of tomorrow, however, they are also the people who must work to create tomorrow, laying the foundations for the future, creating invaluable stepping stones for the next generation and leading ever-forward to greater knowledge and productivity. Community involvement is about building confidence and respect through civic responsibility and service to the community. Navigating the passage to adulthood and successful entrepreneurship is a tricky business that requires humility, inspiration, contribution and tenacity.

With a strong sense of community operating in tandem with organisations ready to drive motivation and practical application, here are two uplifting projects that clearly demonstrate an impressive mix of discipline, vision and the value of partnership:

1. The Booysen Tunnel Farming Project

For Byron Booysen, farming was his ultimate dream. He applied for funding from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA) and was over the moon when his application was accepted. The project began with the erection of four multi-span tunnels of 1000 plants – which eventually bore fruit with 40 tons of tomatoes.

Supported by WCDoA and Casidra, Booysen has been able to supply local markets around Pick ‘n Pay stores, and excess to the Cape Town local market. This vital support has also allowed the project to effect its own packaging processes.

The project has created six job opportunities in total.  Booysen is the operational manager, while his mother does the general operations and is responsible for packing, his sister does the bookkeeping, and three workers are responsible for general work.   

Booysen is acutely aware that without the support, guidance and encouragement of his community and family and the crucial financial backing, training and management know-how of organisations designed to get projects like these off the ground and running, he might never have been able to establish his own thriving business.

 

2. Langa Mountain Tomatoes

Yandisa Langa always knew that his ambition would take him places. When he enrolled at the False Bay College he had no idea he was going to eventually find his place in the world as a successful tomato farmer. Entering an entrepreneurship competition, he was excited to find himself a winner with R15 000 investment as seed capital towards his business.

Unable to find himself a job initially, Yandisa had taken a job as a security guard but noticed that the restaurants in the area were ordering tomatoes from areas as far as 30km away. This was a logistical challenge, and he thought of growing tomatoes in the area to provide a quicker and more efficient supply. In short, he was quick to evaluate their need and the opportunity for himself – the hallmark of a savvy entrepreneur.

Taking a leap of faith, Yandisa initially pitched his business idea to an organisation called Living Hope. With R30 000 in start-up capital, he found a plot of land to rent and started his tomato farm where he now produces and supplies tomatoes to local food retailers in Noordhoek such as Food Lovers, The Food Barn, Easy Big and Café Roux, as well as A-grade tomatoes to sell to the wholesale market.

Apart from the assistance that he applied for, and the grants he has won by entering competitions, Yandisa has some strong attributes of his own that have enabled him to hone his energy and build his business with purpose and discipline:

  • He made key decisions and took specific actions
  • He began with what he had
  • He was willing to start small
  • He saw and acted on an opportunity
  • He committed himself to work hard
  • He displayed a high sense of responsibility
  • He understood the drivers of his business 
  • He deliberately sought partnerships to leverage his business

Managing projects, Seeing results

Casidra is the acronym for Cape Agency for Sustainable Integrated Development in Rural Areas. Casidra works to implement and manage projects specifically designed to improve the lives of people and alleviate poverty. With our mandate as Agricultural and Economic Development within a Rural and Land reform context, we see ourselves as a catalyst for growth and sustainability, maximising outcomes by ensuring that we make a difference in people’s lives through effective project management.

Find out more about us at www.casidra.co.za

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